Estimating Your Social Security Benefits

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From time to time you have probably have received a letter from the U.S.  Social Security Administration estimating your social security benefits at retirement based on your annual earnings. You can also use the Social Security Administrations' Retirement Estimator online to figure out your retirement benefits.

The Retirement Estimator produces estimates that are based on your actual Social Security earnings record, but it's only an estimate since your earnings will change over time and the future benefit will be adjusted for inflation.

To use the Retirement Estimator you will be asked for the following

  • Your name

  • Social Security number

  • Date of birth

  • Place of birth

  • Mother's maiden name

After you have provided the information you will be asked to provide last year's earnings to create an estimate.  The estimate will look like this ( I ran an estimate for myself ). Estimates are provided for early retirement, full retirement and delayed retirement.

The 1983 Social Security Amendments raised the retirement age because the increase in the average life expectancy. As a result, full retirement age which was 65 gradually increases to 67 for for people born in 1938 or later.  You can use the following chart to figure out your full retirement age.

chart source:

If you are near retirement and have more questions the Social Security Administration has a Q&A section on their website Social Security Administration Q&A
Author: Brian McKay
December 9th, 2008